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Published on June 22nd, 2010 | by Meredith Burdett

International Who?

The CEO of BBC Worldwide, John Smith (Huh? Really?! No wonder Doctor Who got relaunched!), has defended some of the business choices that he has made.

Doctor Who - made by the BBCSmith is about to unveil record profits for the BBC’s commercial wing which has raised his profile enormously especially given the economic downturn that the world has been facing for the last few years. Due to the large amount of money made, company bonuses will be handed out, to the chagrin of rival broadcasters but Smith stands by this:

“I’d expect people who’ve performed according to the profit targets to get the bonus they deserve and that’s everyone in the company – top to bottom.”

Smith was the only member of the BBC board to receive a bonus at the end of the last financial year, receiving a reported sum of £69,000. For those who are still grumbling at John, he has also put a massive £1 billion of Worldwide’s money made back into program making at the Beeb since he was appointed as an “interim” CEO in 2004:

“That is increasingly important at a time when public finances are tight because it reduces the burden on the license fee payer… the last license fee settlement had baked into it a presumption that there would be a lot more commercial activity coming out of BBC Worldwide, which is what we’ve done.”

When asked about his controversial move in buying Lonely Planet (a company that picks the best places to go in each country-various media) Smith remarked:

“It fits very nicely with the other genres in which we are big – like news and natural history. It’s got brilliant assets. It’s number one in all the countries that matter to us … It’s doing well in India and China and its brand values are very synonymous with those of the BBC. It’s about impartiality and truthful, honest appraisal of a topic. It is making that transformation to digital in a way that I’d like the rest of the company to do.”

Interestingly enough, John talked about some of the BBC’s hottest property and his plans for it:

“There will be more websites built around hit shows such as Top Gear and Doctor Who, and more international versions of those programmes.”

The BBC is in safe hands it seems and John Smith obviously has more plans for Doctor Who but what’s really interesting are these “international” versions that he mentions. We can presume for Top Gear it would include more foreign locations or maybe an entirely different hosting team for versions of the show in different countries as they have for programmes such as American Idol.

But what does this mean for Doctor Who? A Torchwood-style overseas production company stepping in to help out or, gulp, an American version of Doctor Who? No, they wouldn’t do that, would they? Oh wait; there was that business back in 1996…

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What happens when an eight year old kid watches the 1993 repeat run of Planet of the Daleks? He pretty much ends up here writing about the show that grabbed hold of him and never let go!




One Response to International Who?

  1. avatar 23skidoo says:

    They’d be insane to try and Americanize Doctor Who. They tried in 1996 and even with the connection maintained to the original, it was still rejected. I’d rather see him concentrate on working to avoid future fiascos like the videogame situation. And, for that matter, fighting any efforts to cut DW’s budget. I’d rather see a few less mindless reality/talent shows made by the BBC if it would mean keeping DW in top gear. (Clever pun, no? No.)

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